Nova Scotia welcomed 614,100 visitors between January and May, up four per cent compared to the same time last year. The province experienced a decrease of three per cent during the month of May, a slight drop compared to 2009. Visits to novascotia.com during May increased by 21 per cent compared to last year, reflecting increased marketing efforts in key markets. Room nights sold between January and May were up two per cent across the province compared to the same time period in 2009. Room nights sold in May remained unchanged. “We’re pleased to see an encouraging start to the tourism season, although it is still very early to speculate on the year as a whole,” said Percy Paris, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “Tourism is important to communities throughout Nova Scotia and we continue to work with our partners in the industry as they create good jobs to grow the economy.” Between January and May, domestic travel showed a growth of four per cent. Visits from Ontario were up five per cent and visitors from Atlantic Canada and Quebec increased by six per cent in each market compared to this time last year. Visits from Western Canada were down 19 per cent. Visitors from the United States from January to May also increased by four per cent compared to last year, while overseas visitors were down by four per cent. Visitors from the United Kingdom are down slightly, with a two per cent decrease. The number of people traveling to Nova Scotia by road during the first five months of the year grew by seven per cent. Air travel decreased by four per cent in the same period. Tourism is an important contributor to Nova Scotia’s economy. In 2008, the industry employed more than 31,000 people in all areas of the province and generated revenues of $1.82 billion. Nova Scotia’s comprehensive system for reporting monthly tourism statistics includes counting non-resident overnight visitors at all entry points to the province and gathering the number of room nights sold from licensed accommodations operators. Detailed tourism statistics can be found on the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage website at www.gov.ns.ca/tch/tourism/facts-figures.aspx .